Friday, 6 December 2013

Jewelled madonnas

Now home, I have a chance to assemble photos of jewelled Madonnas ( and a sacred infant). No doubt all are thought to work miracles. The jewels and embellishment don't only add monetary value. Somehow too they embellish the meaning.

  • the Madonna in the Russian mission in Jerusalem - here...
  • The jewelled bambino at S. Maria in Aracoeli in Rome - here on my keyring.

And much more gloriously in situ. I love the Santo Bambino: so very grim and determined.

A real miracle-worker - carved, some say, out of wood from the Garden of Gethsemane. Famously described by Charles Dickens in Pictures from Italy, 1846:

"I met this same Bambino in the street a short time afterwards going , in great state, to the house of some sick person. It is taken to all parts of Rome for this purpose, constantly; but, I understand that it is not always as successful as could be wished; for, making its appearance at the bedside of weak and nervous people in extremity, accompanied by a numerous escort, it not unfrequently frightens them to death. It is most popular in cases of childbirth, where it has done such wonders, that if a lady be longer than usual in getting through her difficulties, a messenger is dispatched, with all speed, to solicit the immediate attendance of the Bambino. It is a very valuable property, and much confided in - especially by the religious body to whom it belongs. "

  • 3. The Madonna in I Gesuati Church in Venice. 

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy